A LIVING SACRIFICE
by Bola Olu-Jordan
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“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable
service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God” Rom. 12:1-2.
We are admonished here to present our bodies as a sacrifice before God. Not an ordinary or a dead sacrifice as in rams or other animals being sacrificed, but a living one. Sacrifice that has life, just like the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Although, he was dead, yet he live and his death brought life to many over many generations now.
Paul used the word ‘beseech’ to let us know the gravity of what he is saying. In other translations, words like ‘urge’, ‘beg’, ‘appeal’ ‘exhort’, ‘intreat’, ‘pray’, etc, are used. He went further to say ‘by the mercies of God’. These words are used to drive home the exigency of the matter, i.e., to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. The sacrifice that gives life, not ordinarily to God but to others. Paul call it ‘our reasonable service’.
Why is it necessary to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God? Because our body is the temple of God. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1Cor.6:19-20. God cannot dwell in a filthy temple. Our body must not only be clean but minister life to others.
Presenting our body as a living sacrifice thus means sins against the body or that involves the body must be ran away from. What are these? Fornication is one. When we fornicate with our body, that is premarital sex, or other illicit sex, we drag God in the mud (as if we can). It’s very serious, that’s why Paul says: “FLEE fornication. (not even run) Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”. (Consequently, sin against God who lives in the body)! 1Cor.6:18. This also include adultery and any other sexual perversion like masturbation, lesbianism, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, etc. In the Mosaic law, it carried a very stiff penalty, up to death by stoning (Jn. 8:5).
Sex is a mystical tie, a union and fusion of two people into one. Those who engage in it without necessarily being one risk their future to be influenced by the other person’s past. They will share in both the curse and the blessing of one another, etc. “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” 1Cor. 6:17. When a Christian thus commit such sins, he or she has abused his or her body, which is the temple of God, unable to sacrifice enjoyment for Christ.
Other sins against the body include abuse of the skin, like changing the colour. It’s a sin because its as good as saying God made a mistake we want to correct. This is a sin regardless of whatever excuse. As long as you use chemicals (creams) for the sole purpose of ‘toning’ the colour for sensual pleasure or to fulfill self’s yearning or desire or fashion. Except if you can present it to God as a sacrifice to Him and that its for His glory. Most people do it out of complex, thinking that they would actually look better if toned, or so as to flow the tide of fashion as not to be called outdated. Whatever reason, the glory is for the flesh and God will not share out of it. Others do it so as to appeal to people, particularly the opposite sex. To others, it is because everybody is doing it. This is actually worse, because, such do not have a mind of their own. Whatever reason, it does not count as a spiritual virtue. It is a perversion.
Tattoo is another one. It is not ordinarily a sin but it is demonic. Have you wondered why suddenly our youths are doing this? Obviously, many do it for fashion, not knowing what it actually means, but it means what it means. It does not matter whether you know that stealing is bad or not, if you do it and you are caught, you will be jailed. Those who put tattoos in their body do it as a mark of identification of belongingness. There is no tattoo that is absolutely free of demonic allegiance. Satan is using the ignorance of people to recruit them. Observe that those who put tattoos in their bodies have unusual driving force that wants them to flaunt it to people, so that it can attract the right owners. They then become a prey to the lawful captive. (Is. 49:24). It’s an identity; it’s the same as pleading the blood over. Just like witches and those in occult use blood for sacrifice and protection, so also the blood of Jesus was for his sacrifice on the cross and our protection. That’s why we plead it. Witches also drink the blood of their captors. These all represent spiritual identification, showing particular lordship. Incisions by witch doctors for protection or favour, etc, fall into the same category. Tattoos glorify demons whether in the shoulder, stomach, back face or anywhere.
Isn’t it better to run away from something we do not know what it means rather than blindly identifying with it like our youths today are doing.
What of women who put chains in the legs? Many think it is fashion, but it’s more than it. For every physical action, there is a spiritual meaning, it doesn’t matter whether we know it or not. They may do it sincerely just out of a fashionable heart, but it does not remove the meaning. It is particularly unbecoming for men and reveals the height of their vanity and base desires. Chains, when used in a perverted form, is sign of bondage. All things are good, it becomes bad when it is perverted. (Sex, money, etc). Perversion changes a thing from optional to compulsory, and so it becomes an obsession and then a sin (idolatry). If unrepented of, one becomes a slave to it and it becomes a task master. It becomes dictatorial to the person without an option. It is a sign of bondage and ownership. It must be repented of and done away with.
Same is applicable to women who, in the name of fashion, change their style of walking? They change from walking like human being to walking like an animal and they call it fashion. Would they have loved God to create them a cat rather than a human? Then, why ‘cat-walking’? Some even go to the bizarre extent of learning it! There are schools and instructors that teach them how to walk like a cat. Cat, of all animals! It is the most demon-prone! In Africa, many detest it. You will only find it with old people or people who use it for hunting rats, otherwise, people see you as ‘an elder’. Cats are generally believed to abhor evil, even on behalf of the owner. It has been said that it is the spiritual bridge of evil to the earth in animals! Then why would somebody decide to walk like them? Many who do it are ignorant of its spiritual meaning. Satan only present the opportunities but hide the implications.
Now, to what purpose is their walking intended? To seduce men, of course: to make men sin! They are tools and instruments in the hand of their master to achieve his purpose on earth. They are his agents and recruits. He, in turn, reward them generously, anyway, and make them popular as international nudes; (i.e. refined prostitutes)! Some are even professionals: that is their means of livelihood. There are even world organizations that organizes competitions to those who have really mastered the demonic act. If you do not know how to do this and learn how to walk nakedly in the full glare of millions of people, you are not crowned a beauty queen. The more you know how to walk nakedly and the more you can walk demonically like a cat, the better your chances of becoming a queen. Wasn’t Satan so beautiful to be called a Lucifer, the son of the morning?
Many sacrifice their dignity, chastity and womanhood to this. Parading their nudity, deliberately uncovering those places where God created to be covered, thereby, changing God’s order for Satan’s carrot. The Bible says whosoever looks upon a woman after her lost has committed adultery with her already in his heart. Imagine how many millions these ones have made to commit fornication and adultery with them all over the world as they are paraded on satellites, internet and magazines, T.V.s, etc. As many as have looked upon their nudity and have lusted after them have committed adultery with them. Imagine how many they have made to fall! That his Satan’s plan. Is he not winning?
How shameful to see leaders and countries celebrating these ones at the expense of professors, inventors, etc, organizing dinners with state funds, to welcome those who have not only brought shame to the country but import demons, when many are dying of hunger! Don’t some Churches see it as a great honour to have such as a member? What a success Satan has made in this regard! Now, they are recruiting children. Junior schools are becoming launching avenues and recruitment centers now. ‘Catch them young’, they say, but for who? Satan, of course! Shouldn’t we weep to see a primary five pupil parading her nudity as young as that age! The parents are challenged to be proud rather than weep. Imagine what she would be when she becomes ‘ripe’. She would have gone beyond a pro. That’s what Satan wants. Such turn to be gays in future, having lost all sense of value in the natural order of sexual union and desiring to explore something entirely new. Satan readily make them find satisfaction as gays. That is the new order for the celebrities. Even Bishops! Unfortunately, the Lord did not spare their ancestors, the people of Sodom and Gomorrah!
What about those engrossed in fashion? “In like manner also, that women adorn
themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not
with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array” 1Tim. 2:9. Clothings,
hair-dos and others are meant to cover our nakedness and make us presentable. “Let
all things be done decently and in order” 1Cor. 14:40. If the reason we do this is
different, then we are not glorifying God. I’ve often heard the expression: ‘dress to kill’.
As harmless and common as that expression appears, it is true to it. Do you dress to kill
or provoke? Is your dressing suggestive? Do you dress to show class or identity? Is your
dress within the means of your income or you are paying two-three installments or do
you buy such through loan from the ‘cooperative’ for a ceremony or for a society?
Are you dressing to show how great a body your are endowed with? Is your dress sown in
a way to follow the curves and contours of your body (This is different from dressing
smartly). Do you follow the popular slang ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’? Do you ‘hug’ your
body with your dress? Many people have been so much accustomed to touch from the
opposite sex that their bodies no longer respond to stimuli. It does not matter who is
touching or where is being touched, as long as it is in the choir or choreography or
It is absolutely necessary for us as Christians to dress very well. Dressing well, however, has nothing to do with cost. You don’t have to be extravagant or exorbitant. A gorgeous dressing can be glorifying to God. Although, dressing varies from individual’s financial level and income, but to many, the higher their financial level and income, the less the cloths they put on. Many put on dresses in such a way you wonder if clothes have actually finished from the market. Today, rags costs much more than dresses. People prefer to buy rags than clothes. Satan is pushing up a bill of right to dress less with scanty dresses. In some countries, there is absolute liberty to dress. Just put on something, anything. How can we lift up ‘holy hands’ to God in the church with pants on the bill of liberty in Christ! How can we dress to kill to church? Many even dress to kill the Pastor. If Pastors would be killed, what will the congregation do? When Pastors champion the cause of fashion, the whole church become infested as the anointing flows from the head. Cant you see it?
What is the motive and intention of your dressing? After dressing up, it is important we look up ourselves in the mirror and ask ourselves, can I go out like this with God physically by my side? Will God be proud of my dressing? Will it trigger unholy thoughts in the hearts of people? Will it send wrong signals to people? Will it provoke some or cause stir? What is more important is the conscience of others. Satisfy the conscience of others to the best of your own conscience. 1Cor. 10:29 says: “conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other”. Commend yourself to the conscience of others in the sight of God. (2Cor. 4:9). Because “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ” 1Cor. 8:12. Do you think you are at liberty to put on anything or you see nothing wrong with your dress and if its provoking anybody, that’s his own problem? Hear this: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1Cor. 8:9-11. You call it fashion, God call it a sin. Whose report shall we believe?
Come to think of it: how shameful and costly will it be to get to heaven and discover the only thing against you is your dressing which you think nothing was wrong with. Or you see somebody or people in heaven who you were alleged to have committed adultery with but you never knew them, just because they looked at you (when you were not even aware) and so committed adultery with you. “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched” Mk. 9:43
A lady was asked how long it took her to do her hair? It must have been well over 4 hours. What is the motive to spend so much and so long? “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat. 6:21). If it costs you a fortune to buy gold earrings and other ornaments, it is easy to see where your heart will be, except you can sacrifice it like Abraham did to Isaac when he was asked to. In emergency cases, for instance, a robbery, where does your heart first go? Your gold, money, car, property, etc? Many do not use earring, etc just to discipline themselves. While it may not be wrong on its own, we must guide our hearts so that it does not become an idol or something compulsory. If it has become so compulsory that nothing else could be done except when it is in place, it has not only become an obsession, it has become an idol, a mammon, a god and nobody serves two masters. God will not contend with mammon.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” 1Cor. 10:31. Let your dressing minister life. Your association and your walk. “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” Col. 4:6. Whether you talk or you don’t, let it be to the glory of God. Make your life a living sacrifice; one that has life and is alive. Sacrifice your sensual pleasure so that you can minister life to unbelievers in your place of work. Sacrifice the time you are supposed to join in idle words to reading the Bible. “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” Mat. 12:36.
Sacrifice your fashion controlled dressing to such that people will use to describe decency. Sacrifice your anger with calmness. Sacrifice borrowing and buying expensive jewelries and clothings to contentment. Let your life be an epistle people first read before the Bible. Be a pattern and an example of good work in your community. Let people not be surprised when you are called a Christian, let alone Born Again. Let us avoid foolish talking and jestings which are not convenient for we shall give account of every idle words we speak. “Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” Eph. 5:4. Let us walk not in the counsel of the ungodly, or stand in the way of sinners or even sit in the seat of the scornful. Ps.1:1. Let the name of the Lord be glorified in our bodies.
The last in this category is the discipline of the body, i.e. humbling our bodies. Why is it necessary to humble our body? So that our spirit can be alive. The depth of our flesh (old man) determines the height of our spirit (new man). If our old man is properly buried, our new man will grow properly. We must constantly humble the flesh in order for the spirit to live His life in us. How can we humble or discipline our flesh? One of the ways is by Fasting. (Not hunger strike). Fasting is denial. It may be food or other things that gives your flesh pleasure. Denying the flesh of what it yearns for or what is rightfully his to make it grow. The flesh would want you to give it all attention and satisfy all its yearnings, passions and desires. The more you give it, the more it wants more. It’s a gluttonous task master whose appetite is insatiable and whose master is actually Satan. The more we satisfy every cravings of our flesh, the more glory we give to Satan that is why we are warned to “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” Col. 3:5. The word ‘mortify’ actually means to deaden, to subdue or to kill. Why must we do that? Because “… if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” Rom. 8:13
Do you give your body all that it requires? Food, jewelries, expensive dress at all times? When your bodies yearns for bear, do you give him? When it yearns for unholy sexual union, are you able to sleep until you have given it? What of the luxury and comfort? Do you lavish it on him on demand? Do you drive the type of car it calls befitting to your status or the dress it says behooves your caliber? What of when it demands respect from your subordinate? Does it tell you to get it anyhow, even if it means destroying the person’s career because you are the boss? When it asks you not to take ‘shit’ and demand for your right anyhow to the extent of engaging in public fight, do you loose all demeanor and go ahead to please him? What of when somebody offends, ridicule or disappoint you, doesn’t he ask you to take revenge and dedicate it to him. What of when it yearns for food and tells you it will kill you if you don’t give him?
In all these, do you think the spirit will ask you to do what the flesh will ask you? Many times, you know the right thing to do, but find yourself unable to it because of the domineering power of the flesh, due to long sowing, watering and tendering, whereas “… he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” Gal.6:8.
What is it that gives you pleasure: respect, accolades, social life, sex, money, food, beauty, academic and financial attainment, etc? What is it? Paul was in your shoes before. Let’s hear from him: “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” Phil. 3-9.
Do you also have a towering credential like Paul? Do you see life as something larger than what it is? What do you have that your flesh is energizing and making your proud of? Paul said ‘what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ’. What is gain to you? Your beauty, academic attainment, family background, money, position, etc, come and lay it down at his feet. Count it all but dung. Discipline your flesh by denying him of the pride. Take it before the cross of Christ and lay it there. Can you throw that toning cream away and tell the flesh to its face that you are free of it? Can you walk up to that unholy partner of yours with unholy affair and say it is over? Can you look at that evil work, friends, association, etc and say it is finished?
Can you begin to humble your self by denying it of some pleasures, even food so that your spirit can be alive and drawn to God? God instructed a very wealthy man to join a ‘molue’ bus to his place of work one day and abandon his fleet of cars. He has one of the best cars you can think off. He obeyed. He was fell down many times as he tried to enter. He wept inside but he rejoiced that his flesh was humbled. Can you do away with some of your pleasure? Jesus told the rich young ruler to deny himself and follow him but he could not ‘for he had a great possession’ Jesus said how difficult will it be for rich men to enter heaven. It will be easier for a Carmel to enter into the needle than rich men to enter heaven. Are you in this number? The greater what you have the greater your denial. Are you looking at your bank account, house, possessions, etc? Don’t be like Lot’s wife. See them as nothing. Deny yourself, humble yourself and let him lift you up. Will you make your body a living sacrifice to Him, dedicating from the crown of your head to the sole of your feet to Him as a sacrifice that gives Him fragrance of a sweet smelling savour? “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” 1Cor. 6:20.
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